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Alejandra García • Producer of The Meltdown

"Making films implies a social responsibility"


- In the wake of 1976, the head of Wood Producciones continues working with director Manuela Martelli on the winner of the Coprocity Development Prize

Alejandra García  • Producer of The Meltdown

Chilean producer Alejandra García, of Wood Producciones, lifts the lid on the project The Meltdown (El deshielo) by director Manuela Martelli, which will be the second instalment in a trilogy that began with 1976 (a film that made a huge splash at the 2022 Directors’ Fortnight) and which won the Coprocity Development Prize (see the news).

Cineuropa: Could you introduce the project? What is the story about?
Alejandra García: The Meltdown is the second feature by Manuela Martelli and our second collaboration together, after 1976, which was premiered at Cannes in 2022, in the Directors’ Fortnight. Starting from there, it enjoyed a fruitful journey taking in various festivals and awards (the San Sebastián Film Festival, Best Debut Film Award at BFI London, Best Debut Film Award at Jerusalem, Best Actress Award at Tokyo, Platino Award for Best Debut Film, nominated for the Goya for Best Ibero-American Film, among others).

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The Meltdown is set in Chile in 1992, two years after the restoration of democracy. The Expo ’92 is being held in Seville. For this occasion, Chile decides to exhibit an iceberg to demonstrate the efficiency of a country competent enough to offer fresh products and open up to the international market. Against this backdrop, The Meltdown tells the story of Inés, a ten-year-old girl who is left in the care of her grandparents, who own a hotel at the foot of a Chilean ski resort, while her parents are part of the creative committee in charge of taking the iceberg from Antarctica to Seville. Inés befriends 15-year-old Hanna, a European skier who has come to train in Chile. Inés is enchanted by this free-spirited teenager, and they forge a special friendship, both sharing a deep loneliness. One night, Hanna disappears, and the process of searching for her will unveil a series of hidden situations.

The movie is a mixture of different genres: drama, period film and coming of age, with thriller elements thrown in as well. The story depicts three transitional processes: that of Inés, who is living through the end of her childhood; that of a country seeking to redefine itself after 17 years of dictatorship; and the transition from winter to spring.

Why did you get involved with this project, which will be your second film with Manuela Martelli after 1976?
We started developing The Meltdown with Manuela about six years ago. She had already started the development of 1976, and it was during this process that she invited me to be part of her debut as well. Like 1976, The Meltdown comes from a very personal place for the director, combining her childhood experiences with fiction. Both films are part of a trilogy that looks back on three decades of Chile's history from an intimate, domestic angle. 1976 portrayed one of the most brutal years of the dictatorship, through the eyes of a housewife in a seaside house on the central coast. The Meltdown continues this examination, observing the transition period through the eyes of a young girl, once again giving a voice to those who, for years, were marginalised and erased from the official history. It turns its attention to those who have remained anonymous for so long. Very little has been said about that period in Chile. I think it’s important to talk about the transition as a stage, as a key moment in the definition of what we want to be.

For me, as a producer, making films implies a social responsibility. Childhood, the provinces and the point of view of women have been marginalised from the official accounts of Chilean history for many years. It is important for me to do this theme justice and to pay this debt. We are inspired by Manuela's talent in addressing these topics and by her particular cinematographic style. Her unique talent is shown in 1976, which stands out on account of its singularity and the high level of proficiency demonstrated. She makes use of a unique way of writing when it comes to the movements, frames, music and editing, and then translating this to the screen.

When is the shoot scheduled to take place?
The shoot will take place in August 2024 in the south of Chile, in the Andes.

Which partners are already on board? Why did you choose them? Are you looking for any others?
This is a co-production with Elastica Films (Spain), Pandora Filmproduktion (Germany), Sophie Dulac (France), Rei Cine (Argentina) and Piano Films (Mexico).

Does this project tie in with the company's editorial line?
Wood Producciones is a production company established in 1993 in Santiago, Chile, dedicated to the development and production of quality content for cinema and TV, for both the national and the international markets. Its main focus is to create compelling stories that are socially relevant, and which are capable of generating dialogue and emotion. We invest in projects of a high technical and artistic quality, so as to achieve productions that will move the audience.

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